Israel May Legalize Cannabis Next Year

A cannabis legalization bill may arrive on Israel's Knesset Floor within the year, which could result in cannabis being legalized in Israel within 9 months.

"It's time to make progress and legalize cannabis in Israel," said Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn regarding a new bill that has been introduced in Israel that seeks to legalize recreational-use cannabis for adults aged 21 and over.

The bill was formulated by the inter-ministerial committee for the regulation of Israel's cannabis market and is expected to be drafted and arrive on the Knesset floor, which is Israel's legislative body. Should the bill be passed within the year, it's believed that cannabis could be legalized within 9 months.

Nissenkorn went on to say that "this is a significant, holistic and responsible reform, which shows the State of Israel isn't ignoring reality and is going in the footsteps of developed countries."

The bill was originally introduced on the 24th of June when the parliament of Israel approved the preliminary reading of two bills that aim to decriminalize and fully legalize the recreational use of cannabis and its supply chain.

Israel has previously floated the idea of cannabis legalization in the past, so whether this bill becomes actualized remains to be seen, however, even the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has previously expressed his desire to have cannabis made legal, saying that he wishes to "resolve the issue of decriminalization and legalization."

The chairwoman of the Blue and White MK of the Knesset's Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Use, Michal Cotler-Wunsh, also stated:

"I see great importance that these two bills [to decriminalize and legalize cannabis] be put forth as a single bill, which will be a responsible, holistic step for Israel without compromise. I am committed to leading, advancing, and supervising the application of these recommendations for reform while doing the preparations required in the memo on time."

Currently, medicinal cannabis has been permitted in Israel since the 1990s, with a dedicated budget of roughly US$2.3 million.

Medical cannabis has shown benefits in treating epilepsychronic paincancer paininflammation, and early evidence that has suggested cannabis and CBD can treat several other conditions.

Moreover, as has been shown in Illinois, recreational-use cannabis can also provide plenty of economic benefits too. For example, last month Illinois brought in a whopping $75.2 million from cannabis sales, totalling over half a billion dollars in cannabis sales for the state since legalizing cannabis in January.

And, perhaps most interestingly, cannabis may have been part of Israel's history for millennia, as discovered in a study released earlier this year by the Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University.

The study found that previously "unidentified dark materials" present on two limestone altars showed traces of THC, CBD, and CBN, suggesting that cannabis use had occurred there.

The altars, known as the 'fortress mound' of Tel Arad, were excavated between 1962−1967 and are believed to date back as far as the 9th to the early 6th centuries BCE – 2,700 years ago.

Citizens will likely find out about whether Israel legalizes cannabis in the coming month, and if so, recreational-use marijuana may be legal in 9 months.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.

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